Hot Property: Arts & Crafts bungalow in Thornburg with impeccable design



IIt didn’t take long for Sandra McPhee and her husband, James, to feel at home in Thornburg.

The couple moved to the area almost 10 years ago when they purchased 533 Hamilton Road, an Arts and Crafts bungalow in historic Thornburg. Soon after, they received a visit from a local historian, who shared with them some of the house’s past.

“Our house was one of the first groups of old houses built here,” McPhee says of the bungalow, which was built in 1907. “It’s one of the beautiful things happening here. We have a beautiful porch. People passed, they greeted us and introduced themselves.

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The porch is simply spectacular, with original sturdy stone columns, exposed beams and plank joinery. A swing and generous veranda furniture help make this a cozy destination.

McPhee and her husband recall being equally impressed with the interior of the house when they first entered it.

“We walked through the door and the rooms were sunny with large windows,” says McPhee. “We really liked it.”

The couple are now downsizing the home to five bedrooms, two full baths and two half baths. It is listed at $ 450,000 (MLS # 1523041, Meg Alarcon, Howard Hanna Real Estate, and is subject to an agreement.

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To the left of the entrance to the house is an original 9 foot high pocket door with a meadow style that features small glass details and leads to the 22 by 18 square foot living room. Cobalt blue tiles surround a large fireplace. with a gas insert.

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The original oak floors, beams, and woodwork are intact, and another pair of pocket doors leads into the 16-by-11-square-foot dining room, where the need for new lighting has placed the couple. in its initial conception journey.

“We started looking at all the different branches of the Arts and Crafts movement,” says McPhee. “The light in the dining room was the impetus for changing the color palette in the house.”

The couple took the time to read on Roycroft, a Reform community of artisans and artists who were part of the Arts and Crafts movement, and used their research to determine which lighting and colors for use in the house.

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They painted the living room a warm gray and installed a Mission style chandelier in the dining room. In the kitchen, a black and white checkerboard floor plays nicely against the walnut butcher block counters. Above the stove is a handcrafted Motawi art tile backsplash. At the far end of the kitchen, a large coffee table sits neatly under the Mission-style wall sconces. High-end appliances and simple shaker-style cabinets complete the design scheme.

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Nearby, a 15-by-12-square-foot veranda with golden yellow walls and rows of windows served several purposes.

“We used it as a breakfast room, craft room, porch,” McPhee recalls. “Right now it’s a good playroom. You can sit and watch the birds and butterflies.

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Upstairs, each of the five bedrooms has great amenities. The master bedroom is a spacious 19 by 17 square foot. Painted in a fresh green, it also has a decorative fireplace.

In the complementary bathroom across the hall, smart sliding barn doors help save space, while heated floors, mission-style vanities and a large / tub-shower combo add luxury. More meadow window details let in the light.

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The other four bedrooms include a large 22 by 12 square foot retreat on the third floor. On the second floor is a pair of large bedrooms and a quaint 11 by 19 square foot bedroom currently used as an office. Another full bathroom has a blue jacquard wall covering added to the previous owners.

“It’s so beautiful, we didn’t want to change it,” McPhee says. “We added subway tiles and changed the decorative tiles.”

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The outdoor space, which includes a patio, has also undergone a makeover. An avid gardener, McPhee had a rock garden installed and added a plethora of Creeping Phloxes and daffodils.

“We can hear the kids playing ball in the summer,” she says. “My husband and I both played softball and baseball when we were younger and we really love hearing those sounds.”

Hot Property is an inside look at the unique and historic homes on the market. Each week, Hot Property passes behind the For Sale sign to share the story of a special Pittsburgh area home. And four times a year, Hot Property provides an in-depth look at the area’s real estate market in Pittsburgh HOME Magazine, tracking home prices and sales, and detailing where hot properties are located. Rosa can be contacted at [email protected].

On: Thornburg (
Population: 455
Planes, Trains & Automobiles: A 20 minute ride to the airport. Some parking lots in the street.
Schools: Montour School District (
District: A true dormitory community in every sense of the word, Thornburg was founded in 1899 when two cousins, Frank and David Thornburg, formed a business to develop 250 acres into a suburban community. Today, the Chartiers Country Club and the original school / community center are hubs of activity for the neighborhood. Vibrant community life and proximity to the shops of Settlers Ridge and downtown Robinson add to the convenience.


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